PC Reuse project funded by Zero Waste Scotland

The Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability have recently begun a project funded by Zero Waste Scotland to improve the capacity for reuse of PC desktops at the University.

Computers in the University main library

The Department for Social Responsibility & Sustainability are working with the College for Humanities & Social Science, the Estates Department, the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, and local organisations Remade in Edinburgh and the Turing Trust to deliver the project.


In its role as a founding member of Electronics Watch, the University is actively exploring opportunities to improve full supply chains and beyond around the electronics we use, and in line with our work in early 2015 identifying Circular Economy opportunities in partnership with the Sustainable Business Initiative and others across the University, we have also been looking at practical reuse of IT equipment.


The University of Edinburgh disposes of around 3000 PC machines annually. These machines are currently recycled, but this presents a significant opportunity for expansion of reuse beyond action already taken. Reuse in general is more environmentally sound than recycling because it curbs the resource use from producing new things, and it cuts down on impact from the recycling process itself.


The University's reported diversion towards reuse in all areas has been growing by 100% each year, with growing understanding of its potential, access to markets, and routes to enable reuse. Since February 2015 the University has been piloting reuse routes for IT equipment.


Over the next six months, we’ll be working in collaboration with the Edinburgh Centre on Carbon Innovation, Remade in Edinburgh, and the Turing Trust as well as our internal partners to develop a process for reuse of PC desktops appropriate for the University setting, taking into account carbon, economic, and other sustainability impacts. We hope to provide a replicable model for other Higher Education institutions, with whom we can share our learning.